We are all working longer and as we age natural life events occur. Women in particular can find it difficult as their bodies change. Niki Hall an Image consultant writes about how to dress for the menopause.
DRESSING FOR THE MENOPAUSE
Women’s bodies change a lot throughout life, but the menopause can be a particularly difficult and confusing time. When working full time what do you wear to dress this changing body shape? Looking stylish without dressing like your daughter but avoiding the Mumsy look.
As an Image Consultant, I help women to feel good about themselves by dressing to reflect their personality, complimenting their body shape and wearing colours to lift their skin. As a woman of a certain age myself, I am very conscious of all of the above issues and the desire to look good and age-appropriate and I use my experience and knowledge to help many women at this stage of their lives.
During the menopause you will probably put on weight in places that you never have before. So, the styles that were great for you in the past, suddenly just don’t seem to work any more – even in a bigger size! You are very lucky if the hormone change fluctuations don’t affect your body shape. Oestrogen dominance of youth which tends to make women put on weight on the hips, bottom and thighs shifts weight gain upwards to the torso. Where you are shortest in your body you will put weight on more, as there is less room for it to go.
Be sure that clothes skim your body but don’t cling or you will feel very uncomfortable. If necessary, go up a dress size as comfort is really important. However, be mindful not to go too baggy and risk losing any shape that you do have.
You will have had a lifetime of dressing one body shape so to then have to learn a whole new way of dressing will take time to adjust. I work regularly with women to help them with this, giving them a head start with a whole new set of figure flattery guidelines Doing it alone can take time and a lot of experimentation. Learning to embrace the body you have today can be mentally challenging too.
Often as you age, you may start to develop a more sophisticated style, one that covers up your body a little more. You will find some extra structure in your clothes holds you in in the right places.
Remain current, but pick out what is right for you from the latest trends and take only what suits you, don’t just wear something because it’s in fashion.
Look for quality fabrics, with a good fit that are well made. They will last longer and will look made for you, more expensive, giving an air of success.
Ensure your clothing is made from natural fabrics (cotton, linen, silk and wool) as they breathe and will help you to regulate your temperature if you are suffering from hot flushes. With this in mind lycra although not a natural fabric is definitely worth considering, as it offers some stretch and can make an otherwise tight top or pair of trousers much more comfortable.
Accessorize. An interesting necklace, scarf, earrings, bracelet or handbag can really lift an outfit and can make an otherwise plain outfit tell a story and express something about you. You can therefore wear more simple and understated clothes, have less clothing in your wardrobe, but of higher quality, and upgrade their look with accessories that are interesting.
Age and gravity mean skin becomes less firm and the most common side effect of this is that a squarer jaw will often become softer and more curved in appearance – this may change your defining features and the details and shapes that work best for you. Angular shapes around the face which at one time would have worked well may now be replaced with softer more rounded accessories and patterns. Be mindful of this when accessorising
You will probably be in the habit of shopping in the same places so spend some time exploring. You may find pieces in shops you’ve never even considered before. There is so much choice out there and it is possible at every age to dress well without breaking the bank. When I accompany ladies on a shopping trip, I always research on the internet in advance, so the trip is worthwhile. You too could do this, so you know where to start.
This time more than any other in your life it is really important to think about colour. Wearing the right colours for your skin tone can make a massive difference to your mood as well as your appearance. As your hair turns grey, embrace it if you’re ready but if you’re not ensure you colour your hair in a lighter shade than it used to be, or it will be very harsh against your skin. Skin becomes less clear and a little more muted, and eyes lose some pigment and go from brighter to softer. For these reasons the shades that suit you will change slightly with age and your tastes may soften.
You may also find with your colouring changes comes contrast change. This is possibly why the patterns of your younger years no longer work so well, but there may be other patterns that work better for you now.
The sheen of your skin may also alter. The glowing skin of youth often becomes more matte as skin oils diminish with age. It is therefore really important to have a good skincare routine, use natural products where possible and embrace make up. You don’t need to wear a lot of make up if this is new to you but be mindful that natural make up will give you a glow and is anti-ageing. Some great make up ranges now include an SPF in their foundation which is crucial for preserving ageing skin.
So, treat this new stage of life as an opportunity to experiment with new shapes, styles, colours and accessories. A great time to reinvent your style and try different options. If you struggle and would like to be pointed in the right direction, please feel free to give me a call
Niki Hall runs The Style Hall, Image Consultancy. www.thestylehall.co.uk